UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources

Dr Charlotte Johnson

Dr Charlotte Johnson

Senior Research Fellow

Bartlett School Env, Energy & Resources

Faculty of the Built Environment

Joined UCL
22nd Apr 2013

Research summary

Charlotte’s research focusses on urban infrastructure, energy, financialisiationand the material culture of the home. She draws on theories from anthropology,economic geography and STS to analyse the social relations that are produced through infrastructure.  Her particular interest is in urban decentralised energy systems and community-led innovation in demand management.

She leads the CREDS project "Social Entrepreneurship at the Grid Edge" which investigates opportunities for community use of renewable energy in urban environments. 

Charlotte uses participatory methods and engaged research. She is currently running a knowledge exchange with the developers of the UK's first P2P energy trading market in Brixton. In the past, she has held a Public Engagement Fellowship to co-design and build a micro energy centre in the Olympic Park with a group of volunteers. This used AD, wind and solar to provide heat and electricity to an off-grid community garden. 

Teaching summary

Charlotte teaches on UCL ISR's MSc in Sustainable Resources: Economics, Policy and Transition.

She supervises students from UCL Energy Institute, ISR, IEDE as well as the Development Planning Unit's MSc in Environment and Sustainable Development. 


Newcastle University
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 2013
University College London
Other higher degree, Master of Research | 2009
University College London
First Degree, Bachelor of Arts (Honours) | 2000


Charlotte is an anthropologist who leads social research packages within multidisciplinary projects on resource use in cities and homes.  She is interested in urban infrastructure transitions and in ways that residents are involved. She is currently working on a number of projects in the Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources that use ethnographic and participatory research methods.

Charlotte joined the Bartlett in April 2013 to map UCL’s research expertise in urban sustainability.  She held a Public Engagement Fellowship in 2014 to study the role assigned to 'the public' in energy policy research.  During this Fellowship Charlotte developed collaborative research projects with local authorities and not-for-profit groups related to their sustainability priorities.  She has since worked on a number of cross-disciplinary research projects on infrastructure and housing with colleagues from across the Bartlett and Engineering faculties. 

Prior to joining UCL, Charlotte studied for a BA in anthropology and geography at UCL and then worked as a freelance filmmaker making advocacy films for international development NGOs. After seven years' working on films in Africa, Asia and Europe for organisations such as UNV, Save the Children, Care International and VSO she returned to UCL to do an MRes in East European Studies. Through this she was able to shape her broad interest in economic development and social change to a specific engagement with politics of resource provisioning and urban development. 

Charlotte's PhD focused on energy and finance in Serbia. She carried out ethnographic research on the interaction between domestic space, urban infrastructure, socio-economic change in Belgrade.

As well as her academic engagement with sustainability she has policy research experience having worked on projects for DECC, DEFRA, the Scottish Government and the International Energy Agency.